Law Blog

What Up, B? Is a Benefit Corporation Right for Your Startup?

What Up, B? Is a Benefit Corporation Right for Your Startup?

B Corporation, Corporations
It's hard to believe that five years have past since Arizona allowed new businesses to form as "B" corporations here in our State.  While the bulk of my work with startup companies still involves more traditional corporations and LLCs, lately I've witnessed an uptick in interest from startup founders asking about organizing as a B corp.  I believe this trend will continue as the appetite for ethical corporate governance and good corporate citizenship continues to grow.  So what is a B corporation anyway? The B Corporation: What It Is and Is Not For those that don't know, the "B" in B corporation stands for "benefit" (or, more specifically under Arizona Revised Statutes §10-2402, a "general public benefit").   Think of these entities as (with apologies to the late President Bush)…
Read More
What Is My Liability as A Startup Co-Founder?

What Is My Liability as A Startup Co-Founder?

Contracts, Corporations, Start-Up
The forming and launching of a startup is an exciting, possibly life altering event.  However, if you and your fellow co-founders are not careful to take certain precautions, being a co-founder has potential to be life altering in a negative way.   In this post, we'll talk about an oft-posed question I get as a Phoenix startup company attorney: What is my liability as a co-founder of a startup? Ways Your Startup Could Be Liable When I talk to startup clients about their liability concerns, I find it helps to break the universe of potential liability into two main camps: tort and contractual.  Note: I will save a potentially large---but no less serious---third category of corporate tax, payroll tax, and pension liabilities for another day/blog post. In its most basic…
Read More
How Do I Register a Copyright?

How Do I Register a Copyright?

Copyright, Copyright Infringement
While U.S. trademark registration takes up the bulk of our Phoenix intellectual property law practice, lately my office is seeing more and more interest in copyright registration lately.  A common question I get from current and potential clients is, how much does it actually cost to register a copyright? What does it even mean to "copyright" something anyway? Before I answer the question posed in the title, it's usually helpful to clear up some what it means to "copyright" something, whether it's a poem, drawing, song, video you uploaded to YouTube or whatever. Frankly, when someone says they want to "copyright" something, the phrase is basically meaningless from the legal standpoint. An owner's copyright (i.e., the exclusive right to display, reproduce, perform, etc.) in a work they've created attaches as…
Read More
My Business Name Changed. How Do I Notify The IRS?

My Business Name Changed. How Do I Notify The IRS?

Business Formation, Entity Formation, Start-Up, Trademark
While rare, it is not uncommon for startups and even more established business to change their name. When this occurs, how does your business notify the IRS of a change in its business name? Recently, a startup client which had incorporated under a prior name before hiring our Phoenix law firm ended up deciding to re-brand themselves under a new name. Turns out the old name was either used by (and even Federally registered as a trademark by other parties) and, as such, didn't stand the best chance of being registrable or, at a minimum, carried a good amount of legal risk with it. So they changed their name and decided to re-brand. Problem was, they already had a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) assigned to them in connection with…
Read More
Beware of Key USPTO Deadlines after Trademark Registration

Beware of Key USPTO Deadlines after Trademark Registration

Trademark, USPTO
You applied for trademark registration from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and, after many months and maybe an Office Action letter or two, you have finally received your fancy Certificate of Registration in the mail. Nothing more left to do but enjoy the spoils of your trademark rights under the Lanham Act, right? Not exactly. Even though you've been granted registration, there are still some critical dates and tasks which, given their length of time away, can be easy to overlook, possibly jeopardizing your registration as well as rights in your mark. For those with a newly granted Sec. 1(a) "use in commerce" registration on the Principal Register, the following chart explains the critical filing periods during which a mark owner must file certain documentation in order…
Read More